Jun 22, 2020

None of us are perfect. We all know this and yet it’s hard to remember for many people to remember, especially at the worst of times.
In my life I have made many mistakes. I have been the best friend you could have and the worst person you could know.

It’s hard to remember that we all make mistakes. I cannot grasp how everyone else manages to live with theirs.

I do not understand how people can not sit there, every moment of every day, thinking of all the mistakes they’ve made. Thinking of all the mistakes they should’ve been too smart to make. Thinking of all the mistakes they should’ve been too good to make. I suppose if we all tormented ourselves so, maybe we’d have a better world and better societies to live in. Maybe we wouldn’t, I cannot know.

People change. That’s what we’re told. We’re told that people change and evolve and grow and improve themselves over time. I find it impossible to believe that. I notice myself changing constantly, becoming stronger willed, becoming less afraid. Yet, I worry. I don’t know if I am a different person from the person whose made so many mistakes oh so long ago. I do not know if I have changed, because I cannot measure how I have, if I have. I fear that I may never change. I fear I may never stop making mistakes.

I exist as a man who does not have hope. I do not believe humanity will change, and I do not believe that people necessarily change.

I also exist as a man who is unable to come to terms with who he has been before. I cannot accept the wrongs I’ve been responsible for and I cannot accept the man who made all those mistakes.

I have no place, even in my own mind.

I have never known peace.

May 30th, 2020

I am every nigger your silence condemns and your moderation lynches. I am every single man that can not breathe, that dies with his hands up, and that gets lynched while going for a jog. I am more than that too. I am every Black, Brown, Hispanic, Asian, and even White victim of the paramilitary police and their heinous brutality. I am every single voice that’s gone unheard after years of protests and I am tired and I am angry. I am angry at a system that continues to fail us. I am angry at police that do not serve their communities, but rather terrify them. I am angry at the decades of my unheard cries and pleas and protests that seem to fall on deaf ears. I am tired at the lack of change. I am tired at the apparent expendability of black and brown bodies and I am tired of seeing police walk free for making mistakes that cost lives. You cannot expect a civilian to stay calm with a gun in their face and yet allow cops to repeatedly take human lives because they cannot compose themselves.

I am every working class corpse this country is built on.
I am every dead slave.
I am every dead asian rail-worker.
I am every exploited hispanic immigrant working your factories and your fields.

В борьбе обретешь ты право свое

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido !

Smrt fašizmu, sloboda narodu!

I always believed that it was true, that you could never have too much of a good thing. I suppose now, I’ve learned that it’s more complicated than that.

I will always be in love with this city, I will always be in love with her streets, her people, her towns and neighborhoods and history. It seems, however, that right now we are frozen in time.

I have slowly watched as the grid-pattern sets of streets and avenues have become a prison. The tall concrete towers of Manhattan now remind me more of guard towers than the city I love and the people I see look no happier than prisoners.

It’s painful to see this happen. Her heart still beats under these trappings. I still don’t know though.

How can I love you from quarantine?

Is it not right
That my mind wanders
To the thoughts of another?
To the thoughts of an unknown
One not so frozen in time

I can't lie, to you or myself
I've always wondered
If I could love another's streets
Get lost in another's alleyways
Live in another's walls

I'm sorry
Maybe one day I'll come back
You'll have grown and changed
You won't be so still anymore
So cold to the touch

It is with a heavy heart
I say to you, my muse
My thoughts betray my heart
I yearn for her neon skyline
Her flooded alleyways

It is a call I cannot ignore

I haven’t posted in a long time. I haven’t much had much to say in a long time. Being stuck inside, like everyone else, has given me time to think. To reflect. It’s helped me realize many things.

People are always quick, to condemn political violence and those that commit acts of violence. It’s not hard to understand why, people have an image to protect. People need to appear as the good, loyal, subdued citizens they are. What is hard to understand, at least for many people, is the plight of those committing acts of political violence. To be explicitly against any forms of political violence, and to universally condemn those that utilize it, requires an amount of privilege I cannot overstate.

Can someone really say they have principles and values, if they are not willing to fight for said principles, or said values? Is the appeal of being the moderate, the neoliberal, the safety of not fighting for or believing in anything, worth not having values? Not fighting for anything? At what point, to the moderate, the centrist, does enough become enough? At what point do they realize they must fight? At what point do they stop condemning those actually willing to fight for people they do not know, and for causes they truly believe in?

Those averse to any and all forms of political violence and polarization often point to the successes of Martin Luther King Jr. in the United states as proof that non-violent protests work. These same people fail to recognize that Martin Luther King Jr. saw his “dream become a nightmare”. They fail to recognize that when MLK started fighting for a class of people, those downtrodden and poor, he was assassinated. They fail to recognize that every non-violent attempt to form a coalition between all the poor and downtrodden in this country has ended with nothing but violence and the death of organizers.

For many people, complacency isn’t an option. Centrism isn’t a position they can afford to take. Many people must fight, so that they may live. The rest of us, in my opinion, have a moral imperative to fight for them too. Of course, political violence is not always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. However, to pretend that it is never the answer is a joke, and does nothing but push people towards complacency, and away from fighting for actual, real change.

The FBI and the Chicago PD assassinated Fred Hampton in his home, after drugging him to sleep. The FBI and the NYPD assassinated Malcolm X in the middle of the day in New York City. How can one know all of this and not fight?

The answer, for me at least, is that one cannot.

American Things

Do not speak to me about what are 
American Things
When you know nothing about the subject

You know nothing of 
American Things
You, woman who just bought a flat in Greenwich Village
Who paid for NYU out of 
Parents pocket

You know nothing of 
American things
You, who talks of how hard we work
Not how long we suffer
You who have never worked one day 

Do not tell your foreign exchange student of
American things
For they are not the whole story
Your family's new apartment in brooklyn
Raised the rent $500

You do not know what 
American things are
You do not know

I do not know either
You gentrified all the American things
You took them from us
You made them into

Thanksgiving
And a trail of tears
Wall Street
And jail cells

And if one day I catch you
Riding the 6 train to 
The E Train 
Side by Side with me

You won't ever be able to talk
About American Things
Ever again

양머리

The revolution will not be televised

— Gil Scott Heron

Being a black man in America is complicated enough as it is. Being biracial is like growing up not knowing who you should be, much less who you truly are. I’ve struggled with the concept of identity for a while. Who I am, who I should be, who I’m allowed to be in these societies. Am I allowed to be an Asian man? Am I allowed to speak Korean and visit my homeland? Am I allowed to be a black man? Am I allowed to wear my Afro proudly? Or am I, as many people from both communities put it, a “hybrid”, or a “disgrace”? The ignorance of the people that are technically my skin-folk is jarring, and sometimes quite painful. It’s not something one can easily ignore, especially when it attacks the very core of who, or what, you are. The differences in Asian and Asian-American communities, and the African-American community does little to help reconcile this issue for myself as well. I, however, have decided to take back my identity. Or, at least, I have decided to try to. That’s what inspired probably my best piece of poetry.

 Ask about my hair 
What does my hair mean? How does it get so big?
Why don't you put it in dreads?
My hair is one part Latasha Harlins one part 두순자
I bet you didn't understand that
My hair both sides of the L.A. Riots, on the roofs with
Rifles and shotguns and businesses to protect
And tired of being mistreated, beaten, abused, ignored
Looked down upon
My hair is one part hip-hop,
One part K-pop
Two parts iron shackles and chains
Three parts 4000 miles across the middle passage
Four parts unequal representation and disproportionate criminal sentencing
Five parts slanted eyes and questions of if I've ever eaten dog
All parts oppression
My hair is washed with the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr
Conditioned with Black Star and Gil Scott Heron and Tribe
Dried with Etheridge Knight and kept in a 양머리

I truly wish the world was a safer place for women, though I’ll be the first to admit that my reasoning is rather selfish. I wish we lived in a world where I could die happily, knowing my wife, or my sister, or my daughter would be safe from exploitation or sexual violence or coercion. I do not know how we got to this point, although I suppose you could say we’ve been at this point for the better half of recorded human history. Exploitation has never been a foreign concept to the human psyche i suppose. Does being a descendant of exploited people’s give me an increased capacity to empathize? Maybe. There are many ways this could be interpreted really, though the feeling of all this is something completely unique.

It feels like knowing you’re going to lose and still being compelled to fight in spite of it. Marxists would probably say it’s a symptom of being the ideal proletariat. Pseudointellectuals online would say something about imagining Sisyphus happy. Whatever the root of this desire is, I cannot believe it to be a normal feeling, nor a common one. It provides an interesting interaction with my depression as well, honestly. I am a nihilist, and I recognize this fact. I own this fact. I shall always use man as the standard by which things have meaning and measure. I shall always compare the real to the ideal. I do not truly understand how to exist outside of the measures of man. I do not desire to either. It is not that I do not recognize the grandeur of all that is occurring now. It is that the beauty I experience in the brightest supernova, or the wonder I feel staring into the void of the largest black holes are drowned out by the shine given off by the extinguishing of human life, the deafening shriek of the loss of ones sense of humanity. Perhaps I cannot see the grandeur of what is occurring as well as I thought? Perhaps it simply means nothing to me.

I am not blind to the issues that men face in the world. I would never put forth the idea that men do not suffer as well, nor that they suffer any less. Comparing suffering is completely futile. I simply accept that the world we find ourselves in is more hospitable to men than women, even if not by much. Should I pass, would i worry for my son or brother? Yes, of course. Do I worry as much as I would had i a sister, or a daughter, or a wife? Not really, no. This may be the result of some toxic masculine viewpoints. This may be the result of simply seeing the world as it is. I simply worry less about a male alone in the world being taken advantage of, being put into a position where they need to do something degrading to survive. Do my worries accurately reflect the reality of the world? Probably not. Do men get called “slam-pig” or “whore” or beheaded for rejecting people as often? No. I do not desire anything. I do, however, require myself to leave the world better than I found it. Sisyphus must have been fucking miserable.

Our Greatest Lie

I believe our greatest lie we tell to everybody, is the lie that one day, it gets better. It does not get better. There is even a chance that it will never get better. The most damaging lie we tell ourselves, and each other, is that it gets better. Nothing will ever just get better. Many things will never get better. It is okay to admit this, and to accept this. I do not accept that people do not have the right to end their own lives if they desire to, life is hard. To be aware is hard. To be aware and to lack direction is painful. To exist without meaning is torture. It may not get better. Not for you, not for me. The most we can do is to find reasons why we should stay. Why we should suffer, and why we should live. If you struggle with happiness, if you struggle with meaning, if you struggle at all, I encourage you to find not only who or what makes you happy, but to find who you make happy.

Of course, even through all of this, it is your decision in the end. You have the right to your own life, you have control over what you do with it, when and where it ends, how it ends. These are all rights nobody can take away from any other human being. And, as much as I hate to say it, it may not get better. It may never get better. But how will you know, if you do not stay along for the ride? There are always more things to try, more people to meet, there is always more love to feel. I tell you this because I love you, whoever you are, wherever you may be. I do not care what makes us different, and I do not accept that just because I may not know you, means I can not love you. I tell you the truth because I love you, and I always will. It may always be a struggle. I may always be painful. However, you will not know unless you stick through it. And though you owe nobody anything, you will not see all the people that will miss you. All the people you could’ve made smile, have made smile. All the people that wake up and will think about you, or what you’ve done, or how you’ve made them feel, and be better for it. You may never feel better, this is true. You may never even be happy. I promise, however, that you will never not be loved. Even if it is just by myself.

“For such small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love”

Carl Sagan

I believe, with all of me, that humanity is capable of incredible things. Of the greatest things, even. I believe that if you have empathy, and if you are capable of understanding even a fraction of our fellow humans, it is impossible not to see the wonder of them. The potential they have, and that we in ourselves have. The ingenuity and creativity and joy and sorrow and imagination and realism and pragmatism and every single thing that we are all capable of, the span of our potential, the infinite complexities of consciousness we all house and share that make us who we are. Seeing all of this, in every person you look upon, it’s impossible not to love your fellow man. No matter who they may be, no matter where they may be from, or where they desire to take us. It is impossible not to love the things we are all capable of. This makes it hard.

This makes it hard not to hate. This makes it impossible not to look around and not hate your fellow man, but to hate what they say, where they desire to take us, what they do to each other and what they do not do for each other. This makes it impossible not to hate what many of us have become. To hate how so many of us understand each other so little. It is painful, to hate what you love most. It is a pain I wish upon not even my worst enemy, yet that I know I share with my best friends. It is not that I do not accept the premise that man is imperfect. I could not love my fellow man without our imperfections. I do not however, accept the premise that man is incapable of creating a perfect society. I do not accept that man cannot rise above ignorance, and hatred. I will never accept that man, we, are destined for anything less than greatness. I cannot accept it, even if I desired to. I cannot see all that we are capable of, even on the individual scale, and accept that we cannot rise past this. I do not accept a perfect society requires perfect people. I put forth the idea that a perfect society cannot exist in a world of perfect people. The society is not perfect because we are all perfect. The society is perfect because we can accept how imperfect our fellow men and women are, and can still see the humanity in one another. The value.

Is it easy to have so much trust in humanity? No, I don’t think it is. It’s not easy to trust that we will all simply try to be the best we can. It is not easy to constantly see your trust broken, your will tested, your love exploited. But doing the right thing never is. Being a good person is never easy. Does that mean we should not do the right thing? Be the best people we can be? Even in our darkest moments as a species, in our tiny nations, and our small societies, you will see that when it counts, your trust will be rewarded. You will be proven right. And even if just for a moment, it will be easy to love your fellow man.

“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.

Christopher Hitchens

Miss America

Miss America,

I do not know you. I have spent my formative years, hell, all of my years living in you, but not living with you. I did not live with you, Miss America, I did not live alongside you, I was not your partner. Your forefathers are not my forefathers. Your forefathers deprived me of my forefathers. I have no forefathers and you Miss America, are not my mother. You are a glorified slave driver, Miss America. Yet, you don’t even see it. I pity you, Miss America, I pity who you are and, especially, how blind you’ve become to it. I can’t help but pity you. Even as you whip at me and shoot me and stab me and force me onto the streets and give me drugs and destroy my families and kill me, I must pity you.

I think it’s fair to say that many African-Americans feel somewhat alien, to America. Outside of her sprawling metropolises America is very different. Under her gilded surface you have the real America. The rural America. The sleepy quiet and sundown town America. I do not rail against this America. I do not rail against those not of my skin, but of my class. Rather, I rail against Miss America as a whole.

We are alien there, and they would be alien here. We do not know each other, nor could we ever understand each other, for America needs us not to. She needs us to not know each other. To not understand each other. She needs us to be divided and alien so we do not realize we have all been wronged. We have all been taken advantage of.

Miss America has succeeded, sadly. I feel alien in the real America, and the real America feels alien once they find their way into her gilded cities and towering streets. It is your fault, Miss America. You have not broken me. You have not broken any of us individually. But you have broken the whole that we were. You have divided the class. You have won, for now, Miss America.